Interplast Documentary Film Launch
8 October 2014
H.E. Professor Eksavang Vongvichit, Minister of Public Health, Members of the Australian Federal Parliament, Mr Dagfinn Hoybraten and the team from GAVI, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am delighted to be with you for the launch of this documentary film to promote an outstanding Australian health initiative in the Lao PDR.
Our hope is that this film, through broadcasts on Lao national television, serves not only to promote Interplast’s work here, but also to raise awareness among people in more remote regions of the opportunity to benefit from this medical support.
Having seen first hand the work of Interplast’s medical teams, I admire their commitment. And I feel enormous pride at the impact Interplast have had over the past two decades in rebuilding shattered bodies, and transforming the lives of people from disadvantage and people with a disability.
These Australian medical teams are also building an impressive legacy through their ongoing training for Lao medical staff in reconstructive and plastic surgery.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the Lao Ministry of Public Health for their support for Interplast’s work here since 1995.
And I thank the Women’s International Group, or WIG, for their vital role in supporting the travel of disadvantaged patients to access Interplast clinics.
I welcome also the partnership Interplast have forged with Australian mining company Phu Bia Mining – the Lao subsidiary of Brisbane-based Pan Aust – to support Interplast’s work for local people in the communities near their mines in Xaisomboun and Xiengkhouang provinces.
This collaboration is another example of Phu Bia’s award-winning approach to community development, and an example of what world-leading mining companies can contribute in developing countries. And of what developing countries like the Lao PDR should expect of foreign miners.
This film, funded by the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program (or DAP), is also further evidence of just how talented a film maker the Lao PDR has in (Vannaphone Sitthirath or Kino as she is more commonly known.
Kino is one of over 1,100 Lao graduates from Australian education institutions under the Australia Awards scholarships program.
And she is a wonderful advertisement for the value of our scholarships program over many years, for the significant contribution our Lao alumni are making on their return to this country, and for the quality of Australian education.
Thank you all for joining us today. And thanks again to Interplast for their commitment and passion, and for the difference they are making to lives among disadvantaged people across the Lao PDR.